5 Gentle Reminders for Previous or Future Transfer Students (From a Transfer Student Herself)

If you’ve ever been one of those people who experienced first semester freshman year and thought I don’t know… maybe college isn’t for me.., just know that you’re not alone in your quest to find a perfect college experience. I originally attended the University of Kentucky and while I loved the campus, it simply wasn’t the right college for me. I found myself watching my friends’ Snapchat and Instagram stories and pondering why I wasn’t having as fun of a time as them. Was I doing something wrong? Am I too antisocial? Have I made a terrible mistake by picking this college? All of these questions and more ran through my head and caused me to have a lot of self-doubt.

It’s at this point that I’d like to mention that I wish I had an article out there to read that gave advice on going through the transfer process. It’s hard to go through something that almost zero of your friends are going through, and even harder to re-transition to a new environment. I felt like I had failed myself, my parents and my friends, by not being as happy as everyone would’ve liked for me to be. I felt like I failed at ‘college-ing.’

It came to be October of my freshman year (two months in), and I remember calling up my mom to tell her I applied to transfer to Kent State. I was so excited-- I’d be leaving this place that never felt like home and making new memories somewhere else! But, when I asked my mom how she felt,  she responded with “We just want you to be happy. If your happiness isn’t there, then, of course, we support you find it elsewhere.” Hearing her say that was like having someone slap me with a brick. I was being so hard on myself for transferring, but why? Below I’ve listed five things that would’ve helped to hear back then, for anyone who may need to hear it now

  1. 1. Don’t compare your college experience to others.

    This is one of the hardest things to stop yourself from doing. Half the time that I was comparing my college experience to others’, I didn’t even know I was comparing my college experience to others’. This is where I wish I had taken a break from social media-- not because I didn’t want to see how much fun my friends were having, but because I didn’t want to feel worse about the terrible time I was having. And yet, when my friends posted Snapchats of their fun college parties and hangouts, I still eagerly clicked on them to see what I must’ve been missing out on. I wanted to know where my amazing college experience was, and I was confused as to why it didn’t happen right away (like it seemed to for everyone else).

  2. 2. Do what makes you happy.

    I remember one time I was at a party with some of my friends from back home. Someone at the party mentioned how disappointed my parents must be for me to be transferring. They implied that I was “running home” and couldn’t handle some part of school. What’s important to note is that anyone who is criticizing your actions likely doesn’t know the whole story. In this case, the person didn’t know where I’d be living, didn’t know what I’d be studying and didn’t know why my previous college hadn’t worked out for me. Some people may search for a fault in everything you do, but the reality of the situation is that you’re taking control of your own life. It’s important to admire the honesty you’ve had with yourself.

  3. 3. Look forward to the future and don’t stay stuck in the past.

    When I was transferring, I was so focused on what could go wrong instead of what could go right. My negative college experience had made me worried that this stress would continue for four more years. Thinking about all the memories I was about to make at Kent State would’ve kept me optimistic for the future. Luckily, my outlook changed once I saw my dorm room at Kent and my new college experience started to feel more real

  4. 4. Understand that there will be good and bad days, no matter where you are.

    In a world where there is a lot of pressure to be living your best life 24/7, it sucks to feel like you don’t have everything together. No matter what college you’re at, no matter what dorm you stay in, no matter how terrible or amazing your roomie is-- there are going to be tough days everywhere. These tough days are what makes the good ones extra special. My mom always said “If college isn’t the hardest work you’ve ever done, and the best time you’ve ever had, then something is wrong.” It just goes to show that it’s not all rainbows and sunshine in college (although when you find the place you’re happy at, it gets much better).

  5. 5. Talk to the ones you love the most.

    It’s easy to not want to share your experience with your friends who are having a blast. However, they’re your friends for a reason. Opening up to your siblings, parents and besties about what you’ve been going through will reassure you that you’re not alone--even though it doesn’t feel like that. FaceTime your ride-or-die and talk to them!